How Diamonds are Formed

One of the most common questions from our customers is how diamonds are formed. Let’s find the answer in this article.

Diamonds are not only one of the most beautiful and expensive gemstones in the world, they are also the most durable. The name diamond was derived from the word “Adamas”, a Greek term meaning indestructible, invincible, or unconquerable.

The diamond itself is the hardest substance known to man that can be found in nature. Diamonds are also rare because of the fact that they are the only naturally occurring gemstone that is comprised of only one element, carbon. The fact that the carbon is compressed so tightly during the diamond’s formation lends to the fact that the stones themselves are so dense.

How Do Diamonds Form?

diamond formation

Simply put, a diamond is formed when carbon atoms form together in a chain and crystallize, creating a cubic arrangement. They are often created between 75 to 125 miles beneath the planets surface. Most geologists estimate that, according to what we know of the earth’s composition, the first diamond was created about 2.5 billion years ago.

It is said to be the melting of rocks in the planet’s upper mantle that creates the carbon that will eventually form the stone. Once the rocks melt, they are driven further underground where they re-solidify. Given the right rock composition and pressure levels, the carbon atoms will begin to combine and crystallize to begin the diamond formation. If, and when, a diamond does form, thousands of years must pass before it is able to work itself far enough up to the earths surface to be successfully mined.

Where Do They Form?

After we found out how diamonds are formed let’s talk about where do they form?

Even though diamonds are simply formed by carbon atoms, the carbon must exist in a specific environment in order to produce a diamond. Igneous rocks are those that form when molten rock, also known as magma, cools down and becomes solidified.

One specific type of igneous rock is known as kimberlite. Named for a town in South Africa where an 83.5 carat diamond was found in 1871, kimberlite is a type of volcanic rock found in the earth’s crust. Kimberlite forms vertically and creates a series of tube-like formations also known as kimberlite pipes.

Diamonds, however, are not the only gemstone found in kimberlite, and can often be found with garnets and mica as well. There are two general types of kimberlite, categorized primarily by their color. They are known as either blue ground when found underground or yellow ground once they have been exposed t air. The rarity of diamonds is partially driven by the fact that, on average, only 1 in every 200 or so kimberlite deposits actually contain quality diamonds. Even then, only about 25{b73dba2f17de0d6747e2a4e2a5d8cd71a65ae593e6462933d3c03b3044ece260} of diamonds mined will eventually become jewelry.

Diamond Variations During Formation

The way how diamonds are formed is affect their colour, clarity, and weight, which will affect the price, check our diamond guide to find the perfect one!  Although we did state that diamonds are made solely of carbon, the presence of other trace elements in the kimberlite, as well as unusually high pressure or radiation levels, can actually create diamonds that are colored as opposed to clear or colorless. If nitrogen is present during the formation, a yellow or orange tone may result. Boron in the vicinity will create various shades of blue diamonds, while hydrogen can create violet shades.

Where pressure is higher than normal for standard diamond formation, shades of pink, red, purple, or brown can be created. Lastly, if a diamond that has already formed is exposed to high radiation levels, it may change from colorless to green. Other variations created by various elemental exposure include black, grey, olive, and milky white diamonds. While colorless diamonds themselves are still rare, colored diamonds occur in only about 1 in every 10,000 diamonds mined today.

Where Have Diamonds Been Found

First discovered in India over 6,000 years ago, diamonds were first mined in the region between 800 and 600 B.C. Up until diamonds were discovered in mines in Borneo in A.D. 600, India was the only know location of the gemstones. Today, major mines have been found in Brazil, Russia, Australia, and the United States. The largest diamond concentration however, is located in South Africa and, ironically enough, is completely owned by the DeBeer’s organization. This gives DeBeer’s control of nearly 80{b73dba2f17de0d6747e2a4e2a5d8cd71a65ae593e6462933d3c03b3044ece260} of the world’s known diamond production.

Nothing more than a simple crystallized chain of carbon in a cubic formation, diamonds remain the most stunning and cherished gemstone on the market today.

Diamonds are perfect for your special occasions, Purely Diamonds will provide you with the best gemstones and unique designs: